April 19, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez (33) in the dugout against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Morning Chop: Braves News 4/23


 

The Seattle Times

Snow forces postponement of Braves-Rockies game

The game between the Atlanta Braves and Colorado Rockies, the teams with the best record in the majors, was delayed because of snow.

The Braves and the Rockies entered their three-game series that was set to start Monday with 13-5 records, and they’ll remain that way another day because Denver was hit with another snowstorm.

The game was rescheduled as part of a split-doubleheader on Tuesday, with the first game set for 1:10 p.m and the previously scheduled night game at 6:40 p.m.

“It’s part of the game,” Gonzalez said. “I’ll look for a little disruption. We just lost three in a row to the Pirates.”

 

ATL All Day

Atlanta Braves Series Recap: A Stumble In Pittsburgh

Saturday, April 20th – Loss (3-1)

Another great pitching performance doomed the Braves on Saturday. James McDonald brought his best stuff to PNC Park, striking out 9 batters over 6 innings and allowing only 2 hits and 1 earned run for his trouble. Paul Maholm was equally good for Atlanta until the 6th inning, as he ran his scoreless streak to over 25 innings. Then in the 6th, Andrew McCutchen smacked an RBI double for the first earned run of the year, and Gaby Sanchez followed with the game-deciding 2-run blast off of Maholm. Atlanta missed several opportunities to tie or win the game, as the Braves went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded 8 on the base paths in the game. As for Maholm, any worry would be unwarranted, as he actually pitched pretty well, but he was certainly due for a 1-inning blowup.

Sunday, April 21st – Loss (4-2)

When Clint Barmes’ bat is the difference, you know you aren’t supposed to win. The Pittsburgh shortstop entered the game with a batting average under .100 and a difficult-to-look-at OBP of under .150, but he had two different RBI singles in the game, and those 2 runs were clearly essential to the result. Kris Medlen pitched effectively (6 innings, 6 K, 3 ER) but was done in by a couple of unfortunate events (namely the infield single by Barmes) and the bats didn’t awaken in time to support him to victory. Gerald Laird and Andrelton Simmons contributed two hits a piece, including the two RBI singles to account for both Atlanta runs, but the top of the order stalled (once again) against Pittsburgh’s arms.

 

ESPN

Braves-Rockies Preview

Mar 14, 2013; Jupiter, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) connects for a base hit against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Braves 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

The slumping Atlanta Braves have cooled off quite a bit since getting off to a blazing start.

Coming off their first home loss, the Colorado Rockies are looking to get back on track, too.

Tied for the best record in baseball, the Braves try to continue their recent success against the Rockies as these clubs open a three-game set Monday night at Coors Field.

After averaging 5.2 runs while opening 12-1, Atlanta (13-5) has come back down to earth in dropping four of five. Having scored just nine runs while batting .195 over that stretch, the Braves are coming off their third straight loss, 4-2 at Pittsburgh on Sunday.

“We’re just not capitalizing on our opportunities offensively,” said manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose team dropped to 0-5 when going without a homer. “We’re not getting that big hit when we need it. We’re not catching any breaks either, like a broken-bat hit or a pitch going to the backstop. It’ll turn around, though.”

 

MLB.com

It should only get better for Braves

“Ol’ No. 6,” as Fredi Gonzalez refers to Bobby Cox, used to talk about times like this.

“When you’re winning games,” Cox used to say to Gonzalez, “you feel like you’re never going to lose. And then when you’re losing, you feel like you’re never going to win one.”

There was a time, quite recently, when it seemed the Braves would never lose a game. And now those same Braves have dropped four of five, their sputtering offense — save maybe for Arizona imports Justin Upton and Chris Johnson, as well as the growing legend of rookie Evan Gattis — finally getting the best of them.

The game is cyclical like that, which is why Gonzalez is careful not to read — let alone read into — the record (and, for the record, it is 13-5) this time of year.

Gonzalez does, however, have a feel for the bottom line, and he is comfortable with the equation the Braves, who get Freddie Freeman off the disabled list Monday, are currently working with.

“If we were hitting and not pitching, I would be worried,” Gonzalez said. “But we’re pitching and playing good defense — or as good as you want, anyway — and not hitting, which I think in the long run is the better. Of the two evils, I’d rather be pitching and not hitting than hitting and not pitching.”

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